You could say Balboa Park’s nifty Timken Museum of Art is a hidden gem, but it’s not exactly hidden: It’s smack in the middle of the park, and its modern 1960s building stands out like — well, don’t get certain architecture critics started.

Still, the tiny museum often gets neglected by tourists even though it’s free and boasts a top-notch collection. It’s been having a renaissance lately, however, and the people who run it are hoping to boost its popularity even more. Among other things, they ditched the museum’s director last summer, even though he himself came in as an agent for change.

“As it heads into its 50th year, the Timken is facing big decisions about how it will look inside and out,” VOSD contributor Kelly Bennett writes in her exploration of what comes next. “There’s its leadership structure — will it bring in a permanent curator? And then there’s the building itself, a sometimes divisive modern shape amid the rest of Balboa Park’s ornate architecture. Will the museum get an internal or external makeover — or both?”

Second Opinion: Checking Back

Back in 2013, we explored the changes coming through health care reform — the Affordable Care Act — by profiling several of the thousands of San Diego-area residents who’d be affected by the huge expansion in insurance options.

So how’d everyone do in 2014? VOSD journalist Megan Burks tracked down four of the people she profiled and asks each of them how they fared.

“It hasn’t been a panacea for me, by any stretch, but it’s still so much better than what existed before,” says one mom, while a neuroscientist notes that the cost of the coverage via his employer has gone up: “It’s the Affordable Care Act. It should make health care more affordable, right?”

Downtown’s Pricey Potties

Those gross-looking public restrooms for the homeless downtown have gotten a facelift thanks to two new “Portland loos.” But they’re costing a bundle: about $560,000.

“Costs ballooned because the loos don’t meet California electrical, seismic and other standards, and because they are being installed in spots where connecting to sewer and water lines has been difficult,” the U-T reports. The paper talks to the public works director, who says it’s not his business where the things go, he just does what he’s told.

S.D. Big in GOP Top 25, a conservative newsletter covering Californiq politics, is out with a list of the Top 25 Conservative Voices in California, and several San Diegans are on it: U-T columnist Steve Greenhut, talk-show host and former mayor Roger Hedgecock, talk-show host Mark Larson, U-T editorial writer Chris Reed and local libertarian Richard Rider. Look at the list with skepticism, however: It also includes the guy who wrote the list.

Quick News Hits: Rhino Love

• Our scoop about the possible end of a highly touted solar company was the most popular story on the VOSD site last week. Check out the full Top 10 list.

The Chargers won’t be in the playoffs. (U-T)

• OMG! The month-old baby rhino at the former Wild Animal Park is running!

• Yes, that was me on the VOSD Radio Show and Podcast, explaining why I’m Voice of San Diego’s crazy old aunt in the basement and boring the heck out of host Scott Lewis with a story about truth, memory and projectile diner ham on El Cajon Boulevard. (Bonus: A man named Six-Eyed Joe.)

• Last week, I tweeted about my family Christmas dinner at a restaurant called the Old California Mining Company in San Marcos and joked that “I hear the shale is delicious.” The restaurant tweeted back: “How was your experience? Enjoy the shale?

Social media win! To be honest, though, nothing beat the roast canary.

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego and president of the American Society of Journalists and Authors. Please contact him directly at and follow him on Twitter:

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at

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